One-on-One With Jeremy Foley – Part One

Last week I had the opportunity to have Gator athletic director Jeremy Foley on my Gainesville radio show. We covered quite a bit in the 40 minutes, and while I won't write up all of it, here are some of the things we talked about and we'll have more tomorrow.

LV: The month of August is slow around here, but it's not for you and your staff. Talk about what it's like this time of year.

JF: "It's a very busy time. You go through your summer and at the end of the month of July it's like somebody turned the switch on. You have athletes coming back in football, volleyball, cross country and soccer. Obviously school starts up and you have a number of compliance meetings and SEC meetings. We meet with the athletes, the coaches and staff and have a staff retreat all in order to get ready for those first games."

LV: What was it like having such an early first game, soccer on Friday night August 21?

JF: "It was nice to open up that early. I don't know what Coach Becky's (Burleigh) thinking was on that but she got off to a great victory. I kind of wish we were playing football this weekend (August 28) because it's time to go.

LV: You've gone through 18 years as athletic director. Does the start of a school year change for you over time?

JF: "Not really. You do the same things over and over again but one of the things that keeps you energized is the (return of) the student athletes on campus and that gets turned up a notch and with the coaches we have they get you excited. And I have a great staff. We have a very professional staff here and many of them are young. They have juice, they have energy and that's what keeps us going."

LV: What will it be like after losing Greg McGarity to Georgia?

JF: "Any time you have change there's two sides of it. I think the word we used was bitter sweet. We certainly will miss him. He's been in the office next to me for 18 years. That part is difficult, but the flip side of that is that we're very happy for him."

LV: You've decided not to replace Greg. How will you cope with his absence?

JF: "Another positive to this is that it allows us to do some different things. We've restructured internally. We've promoted Chip Howard and Mike Hill and re-assigned some duties to them. We've re-assigned some duties to Mike Spiegler, gave Lynda Tealer a little more responsibility and I think that invigorates an organization. All of those people have been around here a long time and sometimes when they've been around a long time they start bumping their head on the ceiling."

LV: At least having Greg in Athens should make the Florida/Georgia negotiations with Jacksonville run smoothly.

JF: "I think it'll be a lot easier. He probably negotiated a favorable deal for Florida and I told him don't come here trying to change it now that your on the other side of the table. I think Greg feels about (keeping the game in) Jacksonville as the University of Florida."

LV: One issue that has nagged at you has been the inconsistency of the baseball program. Do you feel like Kevin O'Sullivan has solved that?

JF: "It's been a lot of fun, but the goal here is for 10 years from now to still be having fun because we've built something special and we've been to the NCAA tournament 10 years in a row and haven't had the peaks and valleys we've talked about often. Sully has done a tremendous job and the proof is in the pudding. I think the community is energized because they see the kind of players that are out there and you have high draft picks coming to Florida. I certainly think we're on the right track, but it's a three year track record and I want to see a ten year track record."

LV: Is he your 'Billy Donovan' for Gator baseball?

JF: "I hope so. Certainly I hope Sully can duplicate what Billy's done. We made a conscious decision to go out and find an up-and-comer and Sully fit that bill. He had been at a great program at Clemson and he knew what it took to get to Omaha. He was the top recruiter for them, and he was a pitching coach. A lot of people have talked to me about his work ethic and that's the same thing people said about Billy. We have years down the road, but I certainly think he has that thing going in the right direction."

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